As I write my thoughts for NaturalHairCommunity.com I think I should clarify a few things before I begin.
- I have been natural since 1996
- I love my hair just the way it is
- I love it when I see a sister rocking a cute natural style from short fades to twists and knots, you all are gorgeous
That being said I hate the Natural Hair Movement. When did hair become this dang on serious?
1996 – When I cut my hair off. I didn’t soul search or spend months debating my decision. As a matter of fact I had a relaxer touch up two weeks before I cut it all off. My reason was simple I was working out and was tired of making my exercise schedule conform with my hair needs. I decided my body was more important. I visited my cousin one Friday told her to cut my hair short. She asked one question high maintenance or no maintenance short hair. I chose no maintenance and she cut my hair a ½” long and my days of relaxer ended that day. I will admit seeing myself with such short hair was a surprise but after a few weeks of not worrying about my hair I loved it.
2005 – After years of super short curly hair that had been every hue of blonde and red I decided to let my hair grow out. This was before natural hair became popular so as my hair grew out I learned how to love the natural texture of my hair. However my sisters did not love it. I can’t tell you how often I was given stylist business cards or saw the look from another woman of color that clearly said “comb your hair, you are embarrassing”. My hair grew long and I loved it.
2009 – Due to illness my hair became damaged and I cut it all off and started all over again. However my how the times have changed. Instead of looks of derision women came up and congratulated me on going natural, gave me unsolicited advice on how to care for and style my hair. I laughed inside. When I mention I have been natural since 1996 I am considered a pioneer, a goddess. It is enough to make me choke on my laughter.
2011 – Today natural hair is the way to go. Women go to events to bond with other natural hair girls. Websites and chats are devoted to the pursuit of natural hair. Stylists now specialize in the care of natural hair. Don’t get me wrong I love getting tips and learning about new products to keep my hair healthy and growing. However what I don’t like is the divisiveness that I see within our community now based on the choice of how to wear your hair. The same women that turned their noses up at my curly, wild hair are now looking down upon women who choose to wear relaxed hair and please don’t let them see a woman with a weave or wig. I am also amazed by the conversations that surround going natural. How did it feel to let go of your relaxer? How did you transition from relaxed to natural? This list goes on and my answer to all is: Are you for real? It is hair people! You cut it. It grows. You get bored you change it. Simple.
The elitist feeling that is growing with the Natural Hair Movement is just another way for us to divide. It smacks of all of the superficial marks of superiority we have lived by for so long. Light skin, dark skin, good hair, bad hair and now natural or relaxed hair. Enough already we need to stop finding ways to exclude each other and work to be a stronger more prosperous Black community no matter how we look.
So to all my sisters natural, relaxed, weaved or wigged be who you are because you are beautiful.